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Quick Strikes: Steve Yzerman steps down, Julien BriseBois steps up

A change in leadership but no change in expecations

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

We were all just having a normal September Tuesday going about our business until just after 1PM.

I did a triple take when I saw the tweet. I was certain it was a fake account. But no, it was real. Steve Yzerman has really stepped aside into an advisory role and Julien BriseBois is now the General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

We covered the news when it broke. And shortly thereafter, we followed up with a piece about what to expect from BriseBois as he takes on this new challenge.

If you have a subscription to The Athletic, you can read Joe’s full article on the decision. He provides some context around Yzerman making the move to spend more time with his family and has some good quotes from others in the organization including Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.

I met with Steve this morning, and I was shocked to say the least,” Stamkos told The Athletic. “But I respect his decision. I have had such a great relationship with Steve and it’s tough to see him step down, but saying that, Julian has been there every step of the way and we have all the confidence in him going forward. Management and ownership have always been on the same page, with the same goal. And that is to win a Stanley Cup. And nothing is going to change that goal moving forward.

Chris Johnston at Sportsnet wrote about how Steve Yzerman stepping away on his own terms is right in line with how he ran the Lightning.

Then there was the timing.

Making the switch immediately, rather than next July 1 when Yzerman’s contract expires, spared everyone months of speculation. There’s no reason to invite a potential distraction to a Lightning team that has won seven playoff series over the last four years but is still reaching for the big one.

Finally, the role change immediately lowers the demands on Yzerman. The 53-year-old will spend less time on planes this season and is leaving himself open to a world of opportunity next summer – assuming, of course, he chooses not to stay on in Tampa.

Before Steve Yzerman took over the day, we did get some other Bolts content. Caley Chelios is doing a three part interview with Nikita Kucherov and the first part released yesterday.

The Prospects

The front office shuffling also has a big impact on the Syracuse Crunch. BriseBois was previously the GM of the Crunch and for now, he’ll continue in that role with some support from the rest of the Lightning front office. Lindsay Kramer of Syracuse.com spoke with BriseBois about that:

BriseBois said Lighting assistant general manager/director of player development Pat Verbeek will also be a bigger part of the Crunch crew, as will director of professional scouting (and ex-Syracuse captain) Jamie Pushor. And Stacy Roest, director of player development, will remain a familiar face here as well.

”I think as a group we’ll have more than sufficient coverage of the Crunch,’’ BriseBois said. “We will have eyes and ears on the ground. We have an excellent staff of great people. They are really good at what they do.’’

Moving back on the ice, The Athletic ran a video breakdown of Cal Foote’s play in the prospect tournament.

Alexey Lipanov, third-round pick in 2017, announced that he has signed with Dan Milstein. Milstein is the agent for several prominent Russian NHLers including Nikita Kucherov. The team seemed to have good success negotiating Kuch’s extension this summer so this could be a good sign should Lipanov earn a long term role in the organization.

The Crunch sent out a press release saying that they’ll be making a big announcement this afternoon. Quite frankly, we’ve had enough big announcements this week. Speculation abounds as to what it could be but we’ll have to wait until 1 PM today to learn more.

The Game

More Erik Karlsson rumors. In the words of the immortal Green Day Guy, “Wake me up when September ends.”

TRAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDDE!!! There was a naive time yesterday morning when I thought teams swapping sub-replacement level defenders would be the most interesting news of the day. I was wrong. But it still happened. So there you go. Adam McQuaid will play for a bad Rangers team and Steven Kampfer will go play in the AHL for the Bruins.

Former Crunch forward Tye McGinn is heading to Manitoba on a one-year contract. Good luck to Tye as he continues a productive professional career.

If you like analytics and data vizualization, check out this article from Meghan Hall. She shows how players’ scoring rates change over the course of their careers. Pretty cool stuff.